We all love our furry family members unconditionally, but sometimes excessive shedding can be quite a bother. Dog hair on couches, clothing and rugs is part of having a furry best friend. When does excessive shedding become a concern? And why does it happen?
Shedding is a natural process that dogs use to get rid of old hair and keep their coat fresh; it is essential for the health of their skin and hair. The amount of shedding that your dog will do is dependent on its breed, the type of coat it has and the time of the year. Although it may be a nuisance, it is vital to the health of your canine!
My dog is shedding more than usual, why?
There are several explanations for why your dog may be shedding more. It is not necessarily a reason to worry. Certain breeds are prone to considerable shedding; these are the 15 breeds that shed the most:
- Labrador Retrievers
- German Shepherds
- Bernese Mountain Dogs
- Great Pyrenees
- Shiba Inus
- Siberian Huskies
- Alaskan Malamutes
- Australian Shepherds
- Border Collies
- Shetland Sheepdogs
- Golden Retrievers
- Welsh Corgis
If you are deciding which breed of dog is best for you and your family, it is good to know how much shedding to expect. Even within breeds, your pup might shed more than others, which is totally normal! To differentiate abnormal shedding from normal shedding, pay attention to how much your dog is shedding, the health of their coat, and be aware of other out-of-the-ordinary symptoms.
If you have noticed a significant change in the shedding pattern of your canine, here are a few reasons that might explain why.
- The Weather – Like humans, dogs anticipate changing seasons as temperatures rise and fall. They need to monitor their body heat accordingly. As summer approaches, many dogs shed considerably more as they need a thinner coat to combat the heat outside. On the other hand, your dog’s fur may get thicker to insulate and prepare if it is getting colder. If it is around a time of year when the weather is shifting, your dog is probably just preparing the same way that you might pack up your winter coats and break out short sleeves – so don’t fret! This excessive shedding is typically just a natural bodily regulation, and there is probably no reason to be alarmed.
- A Skin Condition – If you’ve noticed a change in the rate your dog is shedding, but there aren’t any apparent explanations – such as the summer or winter months approaching – you might want to consider some possible medical conditions. If this happens, it is good to look for other red flags on your dog’s coat or skin, such as irritated areas or sore spots. Visit your vet if you find anything abnormal on their skin.
- A Medical Condition – If there aren’t any external lesions, this excessive shedding could be explained by an internal medical issue. Like humans, if your dog is sick, their bodies may react with a thinning coat as a side effect. In this case, it is good to note any other symptoms your dog might be exhibiting. If they seem to be behaving differently, something else may need treating. Some possible medical conditions resulting in a thin coat are immune disease, Cushing’s Disease, allergies, cancer, parasites such as ticks or fleas, or an infection. That may be a disheartening list of possible conditions but don’t panic! Consult your vet and make an appointment to get your dog checked out.
- Your Dog’s Nutrition – Making sure your pup gets all the necessary nutrients from their food can combat excessive shedding and make your dog healthier overall. If your dog is shedding abnormally, it may be a sign that they are not getting all the nutrients they need to keep their coat strong and healthy. You may want to look into their diet and see if changing food types or adding vitamins can help to combat irregular shedding.
- Stress – Dogs react in various ways to stress, and their bodies will often signal when they feel anxious. Like how humans will lose hair if they are stressed, dogs can do the same. Suppose your dog is in a stressful situation, and you notice a higher amount of shedding. In that case, it might just be their way of exhibiting anxiety. It is good to help your dog feel comfortable and calm if this happens. If it happens regularly, you may want to ask your vet about anxiety treatment after other possible medical issues are ruled out. Dog insurance plans provided by Spot cover eligible vet bills for behavioral problems, so you can get help treating your dog if they do develop a behavioral problem in the future.
What can I do to reduce excessive shedding?
Although shedding is unavoidable for many dogs, any of these reasons above can leave you with an extra fur-covered home due to abnormal shedding. If you have visited your vet and ruled out any underlying medical issues, the shedding could be due to diet, climate, or stress. So how can you reduce this?
- Bathes and Brushing – Regularly using a brush on your dog can help reduce the amount of fur dropping around your home as it removes the hair ready to come off. Routine brushing can also allow you to gather all the hair in one spot for easy clean-up. Depending on your dog’s coat, different brushes might be more beneficial than others, and different breeds might need more frequent brushing. Any consistent brushing routine you establish can reduce the annoyance of inescapable fur. Additionally, regular baths – about once a month – are great for your dog, keeping their hair and skin fresh and clean. Bathes help take off the old coat, so if you notice an increase in your dog’s shedding, you may want to implement more frequent baths.
- Healthy Diet – As mentioned above, irregular shedding might signify a lack of specific nutrients. The nutrients best recommended for hair and skin health are omega-3 fatty acids, linoleic acids, zinc, biotin and B vitamins. Looking out for dog food that contains these ingredients can bolster your dog’s overall skin and hair health and even reduce shedding. You can read more from experts about the relationship between nutrition and your dog’s skin and coat
Don’t stress about the shed!
Often, shedding is not something to cause alarm but rather just a nuisance and a reason to vacuum. With that said, paying attention to your dog’s shedding patterns can help you spot a possible medical issue, notice something missing from their diet, or identify stressors.
Shedding is vital to your dog’s health. It helps with hydration, health, and body temperature, so it is probably no reason to worry if you notice an increase in shedding as the season’s change. If that explanation doesn’t apply, it might be time to ask your vet about it.
Spot offers dog insurance plan options that cover accidents and illnesses, so you can get help treating illnesses that result in shedding.